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message 1: by Mikhaeyla (new)

Mikhaeyla Kopievsky (mikhaeylak) | 26 comments Read this in one sitting. I loved the premise and the way the action was the backdrop against which Wade's teenage angst played out. Was paced quickly and generally an easy read (hence the one sitting) - reminded me a lot of Snow Crash in that respect. As an eighties child, I loved the retro references but thought sometimes there was too much geeking out over specific and technical details. I also thought the emotional depth of the hero was a little limited, especially given his family circumstances...

From a dystopian genre point of view, I thought the book was more sci-fi than dystopian (particularly since the majority of the book takes place in the OASIS). (view spoiler)

Three stars from me...

message 2: by Lindsting (last edited Feb 05, 2014 05:16AM) (new)

Lindsting | 41 comments Mod
Would you mind changing your title to reflect that you've finished the book and either hide spoilers or add a spoiler tag to the title?
(I'm not even sure if there are spoilers in your post or not, when I read that you finished it I was too nervous to continue reading in case there were spoilers. If there aren't, my apologies!)

message 3: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Brandes (nadinebrandes) | 36 comments I think I would have read it in one sitting if the bedside lamp hadn't been keeping the hubby awake. I was forced to go to bed last night and then, of course, dreamed I was in the OASIS. I'm only on chapter 9 right now, but I'm sure I'll be done soon. :)

message 4: by Mikhaeyla (last edited Feb 05, 2014 11:16PM) (new)

Mikhaeyla Kopievsky (mikhaeylak) | 26 comments Hey Lindsting, never fear, I had used the html to hide spoilers. Thanks for changing the topic title, though, it is much clearer now :)

Nadine, looking forward to hearing your thoughts once you've finished. Any initial (spoiler-free) reactions?

message 5: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Henderson (breakfastbutty) I also read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed it, and thought it was a fun quick read.

I was glad the 80's references were short - for me the level of detail in them added to the feeling of fanaticism/ fandom, but I think if I'd taken longer over the book they could have slowed things down too much. I'd be really interested to hear what others who took longer over it think.

(view spoiler)

I loved how the book described playing the video games - it really brought back the emotions when I played them as a child. A few days on and the memories of those descriptions have stuck with me more than the rest of the book. I felt they captured the reason to play such simple games when there are better graphics/ more immersive experiences available. The escapism put across in the descriptions really added to my experience of the book by helping to rationalise and strengthen the connection between the dystopian world and the retro fandom.

I thought Riddley Walker sounded really interesting in the poll, so I've started to read that now. Thanks for the introduction!

message 6: by Nadine (last edited Feb 05, 2014 03:15PM) (new)

Nadine Brandes (nadinebrandes) | 36 comments [Nadine, looking forward to hearing your thoughts once you've finished. Any initial (spoiler-free) reactions?]

Currently at chapter 12! Here is my initial spoiler-free reaction:

It started a little slow. There was a LOT of history about things I didn't really care about. I felt like it didn't really get going until chapter 8 or 9. I'm also not a video gamer so it felt a teensy bit foreign to me, but I can see how it added to the depth of the setting.

However, it's strangely addicting! The tension and action has increased a LOT. In fact...I think I'll go back to reading it right now. ;)

message 7: by poiboy (new)

poiboy i think the beginning chapters are intended to show his state of living and give a lil 411 on the video game and retro-addicted-dystopia world he lives in. the build gets better and better.

message 8: by Mikhaeyla (new)

Mikhaeyla Kopievsky (mikhaeylak) | 26 comments Matt - I agree. (view spoiler) I also voted for Riddley Walker and have ben tempted to read it - let me know what you think of it!

Nadine - yeah, the setup does seem to be a little long and there's probably a lot of exposition at the beginning that could have been dealt with more subtly throughout the book, but poiboy is right, it definitely picks up pace :) I think the pace is helped by the story's own internal race to solve the puzzles and find the prizes - it adds a real tension (like all of those action movies where the hero has to find the bad guy, dismantle the bomb, uncover the terrorist plot before it's too late).

message 9: by Russell (new)

Russell Reidelberger (bangowashere) This was my favorite book that I read last year. The combination of video games and adventure is very difficult to find out there, and I'm not sure why. I teach high school (one of our senior electives is a Science Fiction class that I teach) and any students that read this, immediately want something just like it.

Sometimes I rate books by their nutritional value. This book would definitely get a C or a D. His focus was on the hunt and not on any sort of thematic message. That being said, the execution and concept of the novel is unique and fulfilling.

message 10: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Brandes (nadinebrandes) | 36 comments I actually finished this almost a week ago and haven't gotten around to posting my thoughts until now.

Right now -- a week later -- I'm still thinking about it. The world building was amazing, especially because it felt like something that could actually happen.

I finished it at 1am, so that should tell you something about how gripping the plot was. ;)

I really loved this book, though there are still several things that were a bit distasteful to me, but that usually comes down to my preferred type of reading. I was a bit disappointed that Wade's "reason for getting out of bed in the morning" was the thought of winning a boatload of money. But then his goals changed over the course of the book (as expected) and his character was redeemed. ;)

I really appreciated the ending message about really living and making sure that real life isn't wasted. I also liked how this adventure brought Wade, Art3mis, and the others together in real life. Because that is what matters.

Overall, I loved it, though there are still some things that weren't my cup of tea. ;) I still think some of those chunks of history and explaining could have been shortened, but I guess if a reader can push through them, it's worth it. ;)

message 11: by Jane (last edited Feb 16, 2014 09:59PM) (new)

Jane (janeinri) | 420 comments Mod
Just finished the book tonight, and I really enjoyed it. I felt it started slow, and built so that I just couldn't put it down at the end. I didn't find the 80's references too much - but then again I lived through them with my children and watched those tv shows and movies, and played some of those video games.

I think the dystopian aspect also built. It wasn't clear at first, but (view spoiler)

I love the ending - what I took away was that we all need to unplug occasionally and connect with REAL people in the real world. Sometimes I think everyone is more interested in what's on their smartphones than in the people and things around them. (view spoiler)

message 12: by Yami (new)

Yami (yamiar) I finished this book last week, and finally found time to post my review.
Let me start by saying that if this book hadn’t been elected by this bookclub, I wouldn’t have read it at all. (I'm glad that's happened, because it ended up being a really good book)

I agree with Nadine and Jane when they say that it started a little slow, truth to be told, I started reading it the first days of February, but I got bored within the first 40 pages. As Mikhaeyla said: “there was too much geeking out over specific and technical details”. I was born in 1990, so I didn’t get most of the 80's references; and although as a kid I used to play some video games, I’ve never played most of the games the author mentions in it; that led me to stop reading the book for a while, because I wasn’t enjoying it.

A few days later, after reading your reviews - which stated that the book was going to get better- I decided to start again, and to my surprise, once I’d read the first 100 pages, I was hooked, and could finish it in one sitting.

I’m used to reading dystopian books, but the premise of "Ready player one" is different from anything I’ve read before. Unlike other dystopian books I’ve read, in this one, Cline depicts a society set in the near-future that I could easily see as a product of everything we are doing wrong in the present, which made me wonder where our society is headed.

In conclusion, despite the fact that it took me some time to be keen on the story, I really liked it in the end and gave it 4 stars.

message 13: by Mikhaeyla (last edited Feb 18, 2014 12:42AM) (new)

Mikhaeyla Kopievsky (mikhaeylak) | 26 comments Russell - I love the idea of rating books by their nutritional value! I find that if I really like a book but find it's 'nutritional value' low, I rate it a 3, if I really like a book and it's 'healthy' then it gets a 4, and if I love it and think it is at the pinnacle of awesome writing, it gets a 5. Which is pretty much why I gave Ready Player One a 3 - fun read that I enjoyed, but found it on the 'brain candy' side of the health spectrum :)

message 14: by Lindsting (new)

Lindsting | 41 comments Mod
This book definitely kept me interested and I found myself quite immersed in the OASIS with Wade and his contemporaries. You’d better believe that if the OASIS was available to me, I would be all over that. Would I like to play a character in one of my favourite movies? That obviously translates to “Would I like to satisfy all my teenage obsessions?” Absolutely! When can I board the Titanic and get down to business with Leonardo DiCaprio? (You thought Wade’s teenage obsession with Art3mis was bad? I'd like to introduce you to my bedroom walls in 1997.)

I do feel like so many people in our world are headed in the direction of existing solely in their online “reality” while completely shying away from real people in the real world. I mean, a lot of us are already there in some way or another. Me for example? There’s no way I’d join (let alone start) a book club in my “real” life for many reasons (convenience, awkward social skills, fear of commitment, laziness, etc) and I think we all have many things we’d just prefer to do online even though (I hope) we all live in a beautiful world with friendly people. I felt a sense of pity thinking about Wade, this chubby, pimply-faced, nerdy teen who got bullied at real school so he chose to take his classes online and hadn’t seen the sun or had a real human interaction in months and it made me sad for the unfortunate people who take this to the extreme in today's world.

Is this book marketed as YA? It had a distinct YA feel to it but I couldn’t help but wonder: How many Young Adults could possibly care about all these 80s references? I was very young when the 80s ended but I still have memories from that era, and I thought the references and 80s geekdom was a bit overdone here. If someone offered 13 year old Lindsting a book chalk full of 1960s or 70s references, I’d have told them to get lost and then I would have put my Backstreet Boys CD in my Discman while chatting to my best friend ~*fLo*~ on ICQ about what songs we should download from Napster and looking for pictures of Sailor Moon to make as my wallpaper.

I think my favourite part of the novel was (view spoiler)

I’m giving this book a 3 out of 5 – It definitely kept me entertained throughout but I felt like the 80s references were almost explained as if I was reading a Wikipedia article on it. Then again, this book wasn’t written for someone like me. I thought the relationship between Parzival and Aech was really well done and their conversations in Aech’s basement were some of my favourite parts of the book.

I have a couple of questions related to the book that I’d love to ask you, but I’ll do that in another topic.

message 15: by poiboy (new)

poiboy ok folks.. heres my review of this fun book from last year:

Part One: The spoiler-free coded reason RPO is a benchmark for Sci-Fi Dystopian fiction.

This is simply an excellent book and very well put together. There are plot twisted that, refreshingly, are not predictable and suit the story progression very well. Set in the future 30 years from now, the story pays homage to retro 80s culture, gamers and wannabe hackers from the last few decades. The fact that the audiobook of RPO is read by Star Trek alumni and Big Bang Theory villain Wil Wheaton bring geek-cred to the book IMO. The story is thrilling, fun, VERY retro and has enjoyable characters and villains. The idea of a HD virtual world populated by most of the Earth is not new. But the execution of the story here is exceedingly well done.

The climax is several chapters long and an all out go-go-go thrill ride of fun.

The book is equal parts Sci-Fi and Dystopian.. at a perfect mix. You do not need to be a major fan of both to enjoy RPO, but you will love it even more if you do.

(I also heard that last year the writer/publishers had a contest wherein readers searched for a real world easter egg, with the winner getting a functioning Delorian.. that’s cool.)

Part Two: The spoiler-coded reason Ready Player One must be a made into a movie very soon.

Wade – Hayden Christensen
Art3mis – Ellen Paige
Aech – Joseph Gorden Levitt & then Gabrielle Sidibe
Sorentto – Sam Rockwell
James Halladay - Michael C. Hall
Young Ogden Morrow - Johnny Galecki
Old Ogden Morrow – Sir Ian McKellan

Ready Player One could join the ranks of Blade Runner, John Carter and Ender’s Game as a great novel-adaptation sci-fi epic (John Carter WAS a good adaptation and assuming that the soon-to-be released Ender’s Game with Harrison Ford does well too).

The OASIS is a wonderful construct and I do believe that due to the niche of retro/hacker/gamer-friendly content of the book.. many will love the idea. It surprising that virtual reality has stalled from when it was introduced decades go. In RPO, a Bill Gates-esque James Halladay creates an incredible universe of pop-culture planets and systems where anyone can play with free access. And the idea of hiding an easter egg worth 200+ billion dollars is a great plot focus.

The book is a love fest for people who lived the 1980s culture, or the retro wave of pop culture that followed decades later. It also draws in any person who was addicted to a game from any platform from any decade. Who doesn’t want to find the secrets of a game, especially when its worth 200+ billions dollars?

I would much preferred Legendary Films to be developing this into a movie, but I see that WB has bought the rights.. oh well. I hope they do not screw it up like a bunch of “Sux0rz”! lol

(P.S. to Ernest Cline.. 2206 Greenleaf Lane in Vancouver is not a small suburban house. It is in the richest neighbourhood in all of Canada. lol)

message 16: by Mikhaeyla (new)

Mikhaeyla Kopievsky (mikhaeylak) | 26 comments I recently wrote a blog post on the dystopian theme of High Tech Utopia vs Savage Natural World, which draws on Ready Player One (and Under the Never Sky and Brave New World), if anyone is interested...

message 17: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeinri) | 420 comments Mod
Mikhaeyla wrote: "I recently wrote a blog post on the dystopian theme of High Tech Utopia vs Savage Natural World, which draws on Ready Player One (and Under the Never Sky and Brave New World), if anyone is interest..."

message 18: by Shane (new)

Shane | 11 comments poiboy wrote: "...Part Two: The spoiler-coded reason Ready Player One must be a made into a movie very soon.

Wade – Hayden Christensen"

Nice review(s) but Jiminy Cricket, ANYBODY but Hayden Christensen. Maybe a Seth Rogen / Ryan Gosling combo to keep it in the (Canadian) family. Speaking of, my man Nathan Fillion has got to be in there somewhere!

I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I did not mind the 80's references on a whole, as I remembered quite a few from my early childhood, but I agree that Cline tended to get über technical.

Lindsting wrote: "I do feel like so many people in our world are headed in the direction of existing solely in their online “reality” while completely shying away from real people in the real world. I mean, a lot of us are "

I totally agree. As I was reading, I got the sense that RPO was a cautionary tale, as if we were looking at a possible near future, or perhaps slid into one with Quinn Mallory and Professor Arturo. With that said, I would totally buy an OASIS if I could.

message 19: by Mkfs (new)

Mkfs Finally finished Ready Player One this weekend (while, hopefully, the rest of the group was finishing Inverted World). I've made no mystery of my reactions to the book while reading it: I thought it was awful.

I've already posted a review on GR, so I'll just stick to the main problems I found.

* The characters were ill-formed. Every character acts in service of the plot, and few seem to have any goals or feeling of their own that do not contribute directly to a plot point. Even the main character, whose head we are privileged to share, has no definable personality.

* The narrative should have been in third person. The use of first person contributed nothing to the novel (see above), and only made the historical digressions more awkward.

* The constant 80s name-dropping. A handful of mainstream and obscure cultural references could make for a lively read. A constant barrage of mainstream 80s and gamer cultural references is agonizingly dull.

* Show it, don't tell it! The author uses a didactic manner to convey backstory and even some of the main narrative.

I didn't mind the setting, but I wasn't sucked in by it either. So the dominant online experience in the future is World of Warcraft. Big deal.

And where is the rest of the Internet? There has to be more than just a couple of private simulations.

And where is the rest of the economy? The entire world can't be focused on a treasure hunt. It's just untenable.

So yeah, I wasn't won over by this. It didn't even work as escapism for me. Perhaps I remember too much of the 80s, and am too familiar with the workings of the Internet, to accept this as a workable sci-fi scenario.

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